No thanks to me..

I recently was informed I had been selected to receive an award from a local organization citing my involvement in the community. Special recognition specifically as a member of the Italian American community.

After receiving the letter about the award, I kept the letter in my desk for a week without telling anyone.

My first thought was that a member of my family nominated me. So I questioned my kids. “Did you do this? You know I’m not doing anything that needs to be singled out. Many others have and are doing far more than me.”
And then I waited. For a response.

My oldest daughter Niki, summarized for the other 3. No they hadn’t nominated me but she explained to me how I am seen as the face of our charitable organization. Sara and then Candice quickly followed up “We all agree with Niki – ditto to what she said.”

I’ve mentioned before that I used to be an elected official, a politician for 16 years. My reason for doing so was to help people. But as happens, maybe to others, but certainly with me, I became less interested in helping and more involved with furthering the “career”. Finally, I quit.

I had become disenchanted with a volatile political arena which was more dependent upon strict adherence to party than to people.

So I started the Helping Kids and Families Fund. Truthfully, I didn’t suddenly see the error of my political ways. I did see a need to help kids from single parent homes get a chance to enjoy the things I took for granted growing up in my home. And I tried to have fun doing it. That’s how our annual charitable bocce tournament began. And 10 plus years later we’re still doing it and other events. And raising funds helping kids and families.

So why didn’t I tell anyone of this award? Well, despite the apparently well documented opinion some have that I like to be the center of attention, I am not comfortable being the center of this type of attention. I love to joke around but I’m not joking here.

I’ll gratefully accept this award, I really believe it is an honor and I am humbled to be considered for this recognition but there are too many other unsung individuals who do much more in helping those who need it. Many others. They deserve this too.

For a start, let me thank some of those individuals who have helped me in these efforts: my bride: Miechelle; my children: Niki, Kris, Sara and Candice; my brother Lou; my great friends: Darrell, Sam, Jeff; and all of the many, many family members and friends who donated so much of their time helping us help others in our community. If I am the face of the charity, you all are certainly the force and the reason why we have been successful.

Of course, I also have to thank my right hand man, my buddy Nico! He’s been with me since the start! Thanks to you too Nico!

I was talking to my mom the other day, I think my Dad would have been proud. He grew up when most Italian immigrant families struggled to fit in, to be seen as American, too.

I do wish both he and my mom could attend.
In my heart I know that on the night of the ceremony, they’ll both be together with me.

Really, no thanks to me …
All my thanks go out to each of you who’ve helped me in my every step.

To Mom and Dad:
Salute e grazie!
(Cheers and thank you!)